Managing yourself creatively

Dissatisfaction with Oneself

Who among us can honestly say he has fulfilled the ambitions of his youth? Precious few. The world is full of men who once dreamt of winning a Nobel Prize; writing a great novel; founding a business empire; teaching the world something new. Today, these same men may be found in our research laboratories, public relations firms, middle management, or universities.

Even the most mature may occasionally sigh at the discrepancy between the “private dream” and the “public reality”. We may be congratulated by our peers, boosted by our families, promoted by our companies, respected by our communities, but still, in moments of reverie, remember the secret, unrealized pledges we once made to ourselves.

At times like these, current achievements may seem pale and insignificant. Dissatisfaction with ourselves sets in and we find ourselves “down in the dumps”

The solution? Take a long, hard look at the other side of the coin. Instead of dwelling on how far you have to go, consider how far you have come. Did you think, say ten years ago, that you would be earning the kind of money you earn today? Or shouldering the responsibilities you now carry? Probably not. How many people, directly or indirectly, completely or in part, rely on you for their own well being? Doubtlessly more than you thought. How many people could do your work as well as you do it? Fewer than you imagine.

In short, accept the fact that all men, including you, have limitations. But don’t dwell on your shortcomings.

But if those shortcomings continue to loom large in your mind, do something about them.

We are all probably guilty, to some extent, of allowing ourselves to get into a rut. If it isn’t too deep, we can jump out. Too often, however, it takes some real pole vaulting to escape.

Here are six suggestions for adding some variety to your life.


And the more extreme the change, the better. Even so simple a variation as answering your own telephone can have ramifications. It will expose you to new people, new thoughts, and new situations.


Take part in local politics, some voluntary organizational work, an evening course in some far-out subject you’ve always been interested in but never had time for, such as Photography, the modern novel, archaeology, or gardening. Any activity that compels you to break out of your own “vicious circle” can stimulate you and make you more interesting.


Go out of your way to meet new people. The neighbor you barely know may be in a fascinating line of work; the man you run into at a concert, a temple gathering, or civic affair might provide just the kind of mental stimulation you need. Or, call up an old acquaintance you’ve lost contact with. People change, develop, marry, and go into interesting, offbeat businesses and professions. And don’t be afraid of being rebuffed. Few things are more flattering to hear than, “I’d like to make your acquaintance ” or “I’m looking forward to renewing our friendship”.


If you live in a large city, you’ve probably only scratched the surface of its possibilities. Ever witnessed a Chinese play? When was the last time you visited a planetarium? Have you ever attended; or eaten Japanese food? How about leaving the car behind and taking a long, leisurely walk to another neighborhood? You will be surprised by what you will see, whom you will meet.


Most of us know what we’ll be doing next month, even next year. But what about three, five or ten years from now? Where do you want to be? What do you want to be doing? How much would you like to be earning? Try sitting down and actually figuring out where you’re going and the “means of transportation”.


Let those closest to you in on your plans; even some of your dreams. It will add impetus to your resolution; force you to do the things you know you ought to do.

In short, the secret of getting out of a rut is to create your own excitement. This can take the form of people, places, ideas, or plans. It’s up to you.

Criticism from Others

Some executives are thin – skinned and oversensitive. Others are the victims of tactless, heavy-handed criticism from their superiors. Whatever the reason, the executive who allows criticism, implied or clearly stated, to get under his skin is headed for a fall.